Friday 30 January 2015

The new series of The Audio Jacks - Episode Two

Here's the second episode of the revived Audio Jacks!

In this episode we have a brief summary of the Blackburn match, a rant from Matt about red cards, Chris plays the bizarre transfer window game, and they both take a short look ahead at the Southampton game on Sunday.

Have a listen below. You can also download the episode, if you want to listen to the show while walking, driving or waiting on a bus!

(Note: there's a slight problem with the audio in the first minute or two but it sorts itself out soon after!)

Sunday 25 January 2015

Cup o' coffee and the Swans (Sunday Catch-up - 25th Jan 2015)

Hungover? Good - it serves you right for drinking that final beer last night.

Anyway, it's Sunday morning so grab a cup of coffee and settle your stomach by catching-up with some of the Swansea City news from the last week.

Blackburn Rovers 3 - 1 Swansea City

As always we'll start with the most recent game, which was an FA Cup fourth round tie against Championship side Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park.

Unfortunately after just six minutes every Swans fan was shouting 'are you f****** joking?!' as Kyle Bartley was shown an early red card - not so much for the referee's decision, which seemed correct, but because it was another red card for Swansea, leading to yet another uphill climb from the off.

Gylfi Sigurdsson uncorked a beautiful shot in the 20th minute to give Swansea the lead, but that was quickly cancelled out by an equaliser from Chris Taylor, who capitalised on poor defending in the box.

In the second half, the home side extinguished any suggestion of a Liberty Stadium replay with a second and third goal (from Rudy Gestede and Craig Conway respectively). Then Sigurdsson was sent off for a stupid foul, leaving nine man Swans side to see out the final few minutes. Makes for grim reading doesn't it?

Garry Monk had called for a reaction from the players after the Chelsea hammering, but that clearly didn't help. Everything looked sloppy and a couple of players didn't seem like they wanted to be there, which brings me on to my next section...

Bafetimbi Gomis vs Swansea

It's been a while since Swans fans have been this riled up at a player. Yes Itay Shechter was dreadful and Michu was moody, but no player has been quite as full of themselves as Mr Gomis.

Sort it out Gomis
And it seems to be unjustified arrogance from the striker who hasn't particularly shone in a Swansea shirt, scoring just four goals in 23 appearances. He's 29-years-old, an infrequent international and - although capable of being good - he's not backing up his talk with any action.

Gomis wanted to be the starting striker but, due to Bony's great form and the fact Swansea only ever play one striker, it wasn't going to happen. Of course, no-one knows what promises were made to him originally, but now - with Bony gone - the Frenchman has his chance to impress.

Regardless of his disdain for the club, it seems that Monk has seemingly warned Gomis that he won't be leaving Swansea this month anyway, so he might as well settle in, keep his head down and try to score some bloody goals!

Hello Kyle

Kyle Naughton is now officially a Swansea City player. The surprise move resulted in a £5million bill from Spurs, and a right-back who hasn't particularly wowed during his time at the Premier League top six side, leaving a few Swans fans scratching their heads.

However, he will provide a new option at the tricky right-back position. And he's competition - not just cover - for the likes of Rangel and Richards, which can only be a good thing. Naughton didn't feature in the FA Cup match at Ewood Park (lucky him), but no doubt we'll see him on Sunday against Southampton.

We're in the money!

Earlier in the week it was reported that Swansea City are now in the top 30 wealthiest football clubs in the world. The Swans ranked an impressive 29th in the list, with a revenue of £98.7m during the 2013/14 season, making them the first Welsh club to make it into the top 30. It's nice to end this article on a positive!

Monday 19 January 2015

The triumphant return of the Audio Jacks podcast!

Happy Monday to you.

You probably weren't expecting this (and neither was I until a few days ago), but I have a new Audio Jacks podcast for you!

About three years ago myself and Matt Barroccu (an expert Swans fan and broadcaster) created the Audio Jacks - a light-hearted weekly podcast all about Swansea City. However, after a few successful episodes we went our own ways as careers and laziness took over.

But now, a few years later, we have decided to test the water with a comeback podcast. Why? I don't really know. It's a nice way to vent views on the Swans through a different medium to blogging/books, and is something fun for you guys to listen to on the way to work.

Have a listen via the SoundCloud link below and let us know what you think. I'm reachable via the contact form, the comments section, or on Twitter @ForzaSwansea, while you can also reach Matt on @LMScreamer.


Sunday 18 January 2015

Cup o' coffee and the Swans (Sunday Catch-up - 18th Jan 2015)

Wake up - it's Sunday morning and time for our new regular weekly Swansea City catch-up, featuring Bony's departure, Mario Gomez and the... *sigh*... Chelsea match.

Swansea City 0 - 5 Chelsea

Let's get this out of the way then...

A goal in the first minute really set the tone for a game that Chelsea dominated in every way. Another in the 20th gave the visitors a comfortable cushion. A third in the 34th minute killed the game off completely, and a fourth just over a minute later was just embarrassing. If you weren't watching (lucky you) it was Oscar and Costa who scored two each.

The second half wasn't particularly brilliant, but at least the gaps were filled and the Chelsea goals stopped coming... for a while. In the 78th minute, substitute Ivanovic got the fifth and final goal of the game.

Ruthless from Chelsea, who will become deserved champions of the Premier League this season. And overall very poor from Swansea. However, the Swans were without first choicers like Ki, Montero, Shelvey and Britton, while Routledge also hobbled off in the first half. It's no excuse, but it's worth pointing out.

It was only a loss at the end of the day, although the goal difference could hurt come the end of the season. It was never a game Swansea were likely to win, but no-one saw that coming! Oh well, onto Blackburn in the FA Cup - a game in which some pride can hopefully be restored.

Mario Gomez spotted in Rossi's?

BREAKING: German star striker Mario Gomez has been spotted having a rissole in Rossi's carpark!

Gomez - the one with the smaller eyes.

That's right, it seems Gomez - who plies his trade for Serie A club Fiorentina - is the latest in the series of unlikely players linked with a move to Swansea.

I mean, if he was willing to take a major pay cut then perhaps it would be a little more feasible, especially as he's clearly not loving his time in Italy. But please don't hold your breath on this one...

Bony officially gone

After perhaps a sliver of uncertainty over Wilfried Bony's exit from the club, on Wednesday Swansea City officially confirmed that he would leave for Manchester City for a fee of £17,000 (... just joking - it's an officially undisclosed fee, which is understood to mean the club will take £25million initially, with the possibility of £3million add-ons).

Stating the obvious, he's been immense over the past two years, almost single-handedly keeping the Swans from relegation last season before contributing some noteworthy goals this year too. We wish him the best of luck - he seems more likely to succeed with City than Scott Sinclair did.

Catching up with Ki

The Swans are certainly missing Ki Sung Yeung this month, who is still in Australia captaining the Korean team in the 2015 Asian Cup.

Korean Ki
And by all accounts Ki is playing very well, with Korea finishing top of Group A, having won all three of their games 1-0.

Korea are likely to play either Saudi Arabia or Uzbekistan in the competition's quarter-finals on Thursday. Let's hope the midfielder can keep injury free for the rest of the competition, then return to South Wales ready to slot in to a sloppy Swansea side!

Thursday 15 January 2015

Swansea City's Greatest Games - The Top 50

There can be few clubs with a more colourful history than the Swans and this book records some of the club's greatest moments on the pitch. This wonderful trip down Swansea City's memory lane is essential reading for the Jack Army, of all ages and generations!" - Kevin Johns, Club Chaplain

It's been over three months since Swansea City's Greatest Games was released (yes, time does fly!). And it's only now I'm realising that I've not yet put the complete contents up online.

If you've not yet bought the book, it contains 50 of Swansea's finest matches, starting with their very first one in 1912, right up until the end of last season. There's at least one game from every decade, although some eras warrant more focus, such as John Toshack's blistering rise through the leagues in the early eighties, and - of course - the Premier League era.

The book is still available on the official Swansea City website and worldwide on Amazon. If you are in Swansea it can also be found in Waterstones, WHSmiths, HMV and an array of independent book shops.

Here's the list of 50 excellent Swansea City games, spanning more than 100 years (and 200 pages):

1. v Cardiff City 1912
2. v Pontypridd 1913
3. v Exeter City 1925
4. v Arsenal 1926
5. v Bury 1932
6. v Newport County 1949
7. v Cardiff City 1949
8. v Coventry City 1951
9. v Leicester City 1956
10. v Sunderland 1958
11. v Cardiff City 1960
12. v Liverpool 1964
13. v Preston North End 1964
14. v Newport County 1970
15. v Tottenham Hotspur 1978
16. v Rotherham United 1978
17. v Chesterfield 1979
18. v Preston North End 1981
19. v Leeds United 1981
20. v Stoke City 1981
21. v Manchester United 1982
22. v Liverpool 1982
23. v Cardiff City 1982
24. v Sliema Wanderers 1982
25. v Huddersfield 1994
26. v Cardiff City 1998
27. v West Ham 1999
28. v Rotherham United 2000
29. v Hull City 2003
30. v Cheltenham Town 2003
31. v Yeovil 2003
32. v Bristol City 2005
33. v Carlisle United 2006
34. v Leeds United 2007
35. v Cardiff City 2008
36. v Cardiff City 2009
37. v Norwich City 2011
38. v Nottingham Forest 2011
39. v Reading 2011
40. v Arsenal 2012
41. v Manchester City 2012
42. v Liverpool 2012
43. v Queens Park Rangers 2012
44. v West Bromwich Albion 2012
45. v Chelsea 2013
46. v Bradford City 2013
47. v Valencia 2013
48. v Cardiff City 2014
49. v Napoli 2014
50. v Aston Villa 2014

Sunday 11 January 2015

Cup o' coffee and the Swans (Sunday Catch-up - 11th Jan 2015)

Here we go - Happy New Year!

Recently my commitments to other projects (along with a peppering of laziness) has seen output on Forza Swansea fall pretty low. So, in an attempt to ensure at least one new post a week, I have created a new Sunday catch-up post which I aim to keep up with!

So grab your Sunday morning coffee / tea / hair-of-the-dog, and let's catch-up with the goings on in the wonderful world of Swansea City over the past week!

Swansea 1 - 1 West Ham: Frustrating / Inspiring / Greasy

Sloppy defending in an overall frustrating first half saw Swansea concede to a decently struck goal from Andy Carroll. His celebration was infuriating, but Swans fans had the last laugh as his team lost two points when Bafetimbi Gomis equalised in the second half.

Carroll goading the Swans fans (Great photo - not sure who took it sorry)

As I mention, the first half was - in a word - pathetic from Swansea. Most of the passes were in the middle of the park and as soon as they had a chance to break quickly... the ball was passed back to the centre backs, rendering a surprise counter attack impossible.

The fans were screaming for subs and thankfully Garry Monk heard our cries, bringing on the inspired Modou Barrow and Marvin Emnes; injecting some much needed pace and desire to replace Nathan Dyer and Wayne Routledge. Some attractive passing in front of goal later and we had our deserved equaliser. Men of the match (for me): Fernandez, Britton, Fabianski.

What did we learn from yesterday? Gomis - with a little work and confidence - will be enough to carry the team through the second half of the season. Nelson Oliveira looked smooth and very handy with the ball. Angel Rangel had a terrible game - no matter how much of a club legend he is, he needs to sort it out before next time. Andy Carroll is still a greasy b*****d, capable of scoring against Swansea when he wants.

Bye bye Wilfried Bony, no more goals for Swansea

The biggest news this week has been the imminent (although not yet confirmed) departure of beloved Swans striker Wilfried Bony, who is likely to head off to big spending Manchester City for £30million (although Chelsea are also in the running to sign the striker, should the Man City move break down, or so the Daily Express report).

Goodbye, and thanks for all the goals!

The power striker is currently in Equatorial Guinea for the African Cup of Nations, but it's unlikely he'll ever put on the white shirt of Swansea again. It was always likely to happen and it will be a great shame to see him go. Not only for his goals, but his creativity and his huge presence on the pitch.

As Forza Swansea blogger Alec Johnson tweeted last week: 'Gomis was signed as a Wilf replacement last summer as offers were expected for £19m... But we've had an extra 4 months and £11m so just smile'. 

That's a sentiment I agree with, and I'm sure sensible Swans fans everywhere else do to.

Hello Troy Deeney?

With the upcoming departure of Bony, several media outlets have linked Swansea with Watford striker Troy Deeney, who has been one of the Championship's top scorers in recent seasons.

Deeney has scored 69 goals in 183 appearances for Watford since 2010, and could fit into the side pretty nicely.

However as Planet Swans pointed out earlier in the week, with Gomis and Oliveira already in place, it's unlikely that a move will be made for the 26-year-old front man. But who knows...?

Rory goes to Tranmere

Finally, young Rory Donnelly has joined League Two bottom-dwellers Tranmere Rovers until the end of the season. The 22-year-old striker has suffered his share of frustrating injuries since joining the Swans in January 2012 and as a result has made little impact.

So it's a good move for both clubs and the player in this respect - he'll definitely get some much needed game time with Tranmere, as yesterday afternoon proved. Donnelly came on for Rovers as a 67th minute sub in yesterday's flaccid 0-0 draw against Morecambe. Good luck Rory.


That ends the first of these regular Sunday morning catch-ups. In the meantime make sure to cheer yourself up this January and get your copy of Swansea City's Greatest Games now!

Tuesday 30 December 2014

Why losing to Liverpool really wasn't that bad.

Swansea were embarrassed last night by Brendan Rodgers' Liverpool at Anfield, deservedly losing 4-1 after a scrappy first half and a lacklustre second.

A couple of defensive mix-ups, a bizarre mistake from Lukasz Fabianski and an unfortunate own-goal from Jonjo Shelvey (who had an overall dreadful evening) saw the Swans pretty much dead and buried with over 20 minutes left to play.

It's annoying, but is it that bad?

In a 'grand scheme of things' kind of way, no - it's not that bad at all. Garry Monk - still only half-way through his first full season in charge - has navigated his team through a tough few months of fixtures and injuries, and is ending the year ninth in the Premier League.

Right on cue: Shelvey played his part in an awful game.

And having already played teams like Liverpool, Man United, Chelsea, Man City and West Ham away from home, the second half of the season should be a little smoother, fixtures-wise at least.

Of course, losing Wilfried Bony and Ki Sung Yeung to their nations for respective national competitions is a big blow considering the impact both those players have had; Bony with his creativity and goals, and Ki with his strength and composure in the middle of the pitch.

But their absence will allow Bafetimbi Gomis - who looked pretty good against Liverpool - some time in the spotlight, while midfield is deep enough to cope without Ki for a month (providing Shelvey pulls his finger out a bit). And of course we'll finally be able to see Nelson Oliveira in action.

So it's been a good year; certainly ending better than it started (I need not remind any Swansea fan of the way 2014 began, with Michael Laudrup slowly guiding the team towards relegation). In reflection, losing to Liverpool - and Brendan Rodgers - was in no way desirable, but it's not the end of the world.

All that's left to do is say Happy New Year and see you all in 2015! (And don't waste those Christmas vouchers on something boring - instead, buy your copy of Swansea City's Greatest Games today!).